Known either as Cheeks or Pekachi, or variants of those names, the cross between the Pekingese and the Chihuahua is not recognized by the American Kennel Club. These "designer dogs" purportedly offset genetic maladies in the individual breed with a dose of hybrid vigor. No question it's a cute cross.
Since both the Peke and the Chi are toy breeds, a Cheek is the size of a large Chihuahua or a small Pekingese—take your pick. According to the American Kennel Club standards for the Chihuahua, a mature dog shouldn't weigh more than six pounds. AKC standards cite the Peke as weighing under 14 pounds, so the cross ideally weighs about 10 pounds when grown. Of course, your dog could take after one side of the family more than the other, but you've still got a tiny dog.
Neither breed requires especially intense coat maintenance, although the Pekingese needs more grooming than the Chihuahua. Since both breeds come in a variety of colors, the cross also appears in many shades. Your dog will shed, but not excessively. If you live in a northern climate and your Cheek gets cold, you can dress him in his own coat for outdoor trips in winter.
Bred as companion dogs, these little guys do not require much exercise and prefer to spend their time with you. Bright and affectionate, the Cheek also makes a good watchdog of the "ankle-biter" variety. Housebreaking for either breed can try your patience, and the same holds true for the cross. Eventually, your dog learns where and when to do his business. Because of their small size and limited need to run, Cheeks make good dogs for apartment dwellers. Invest time in good training, as the Cheek can be a strong-willed, bossy dog.
Like many small dogs, healthy Cheeks live a long time, well into the mid-teens. However, hybrid vigor aside, these crossbreeds may suffer from hereditary diseases from either side of the family dog tree, as well as issues common to little dogs in general. For example, small dogs are prone to dental problems, since it's hard to fit 42 adult dog teeth into tiny mouths. Both Pekes and Chis tend to experience eye problems. If your Cheek's head resembles a Peke's, breathing difficulties may ensue, as the Peke's flat head causes narrow airways. Luxating patellas, or the kneecaps popping out of the joint, also occur in both breeds.
Jane Meggitt has been a writer for more than 20 years. In addition to reporting for a major newspaper chain, she has been published in "Horse News," "Suburban Classic," "Hoof Beats," "Equine Journal" and other publications. She has a Bachelor of Arts in English from New York University and an Associate of Arts from the American Academy of Dramatics Arts, New York City.